Det goda arbetet: En idéhistorisk studie av fackföreningsrörelsen i Sverige 1966–1985
Sammanfattning: This thesis paper is a historical study that examines the labor political issues which the movement of Swedish trade unions faced between the years 1966–1985. How did they understand and formulate these problems and what solutions did they present? “The good work” (“Det goda arbetet”) was one such solution which was introduced in 1985 by The Union of Industrial Metalworkers (Metallindustriarbetareförbundet). This thesis explores the underlying ideas and the history behind this visionary program and how it took inspiration from the ideological developments of the previous decades. This is done by analysing four conference reports published in association with yearly union conferences between 1966 and 1985. These reports center around themes of technological development, working conditions, worker power and self determination to name a few. The analysis focuses on the labor political issues that arose after the establishment of the “Swedish model” and the post-war era economic boom. One of the major ideological developments during the 1960s was the backlash against the fordist model of production and the critique of rationalisation of work in general. This is shown to be one the major shifts in thinking about work which leads towards the development of solutions such as “The good work” during the 1970s and 80s. Furthermore, it is shown how “The good work” was linked historically to alienation theory and sociological research during the period. The key conclusions from the analysis focus on how worker discontent during the late 1960s led to massive labor political reforms during the 1970s along with the larger project of democratising the workplace gaining new life. This development, however, took a turn in 1976 when the social democratic party lost their first election in nearly 40 years. The analysis of the report by The Union of Industrial Metalworkers from 1985 shows the vision of “The good work” as they formulated it to be stuck between two separate eras. On the one hand it was still in conversation with the left-wing project of advancing labor power and democracy from the 1970s. On the other it had to confront the new political landscape of the 1980s and the right-wing turn towards neoliberalism.
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